Jeff Sessions and California's Open Borders Attorney General Clash At Meeting

Attorney General Jeff Sessions speaks at the National Association of Attorneys General annual winter meeting, Tuesday, Feb. 28, 2017, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Jeff Sessions was at the annual meeting of the National Association of Attorneys General and the subject turned to immigration. California’s AG, former congressman Xavier Bacerra, made this bizarre claim:

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra told Sessions that the drop in crime in the past two decades in cities like Los Angeles, San Francisco and Sacramento is due in part to the cooperation of undocumented immigrants who may be victims of or witnesses to crime.

“One of the reasons we believe we’ve been able to succeed in bringing crime down is because we have the cooperation of folks throughout the communities. … We need to have [them] cooperate with us when crimes do occur.” said Becerra, a former Democratic congressman who was appointed to fill the attorney general slot vacated by newly elected Sen. Kamala Harris.

“We are finding, though, that some of the actions that the administration is taking with regard to enforcing immigration laws is causing a lot of fear throughout our state, and people who are here without documents but are not committing crimes are beginning to fear approaching law enforcement authorities for fear that they may be also apprehended in the process of trying to be witnesses on crimes,” Becerra said.

If you look at crime data from Los Angeles, it becomes obvious that the overall decrease in crime is not reflected in Hispanic neighborhoods. Quite to the contrary. The assertion that Hispanics are more cooperative with police and and more crimes are being prevented… because no matter how cooperative you are as a witness you can’t erase a crime that has been committed and thus drive down the crime rate… is simply bullsh**. And there are zero scientifically valid studies anywhere that substantiate this nonsense. At the best they are based on anecdotes and surveys of uncertain quality and replicability.

“We are having some disagreements in certain areas with state and local governments over detainers,” Sessions said. “It’s just to me a shocking thing that we don’t have universal respect between law enforcement agencies where when one has charges the other turns over the offender to the next jurisdiction to carry out just punishment. But we’ll have to wrestle with that. It’s going to be a tough challenge.”

So far, the administration is trying to discourage sanctuary cities by threatening their federal funding. A Jan. 25 executive order from President Donald Trump instructed federal officials to deny funding to localities with sanctuary policies, to the extent the law permits such payment cuts.

Trump’s executive order was unsparing in denouncing sanctuary policies. “These jurisdictions have caused immeasurable harm to the American people and to the very fabric of our Republic,” Trump wrote.

Sessions was more conciliatory Tuesday.

“We do not need to have a big brawl between our law enforcement agencies, if we can avoid that,” he told Becerra. “I understand the argument that you’ve made, and we’ve heard it before and there’s a certain validity to it. But there are other countervailing arguments and principles that are at work. I think we’ll do our best to be clear and firm and fair.”

Sessions is right. The lack of cooperation between police forces in sanctuary cities and federal immigration officers is untenable. Trump has taken the correct first step: unshackling ICE officers. The next good step is underway: withdrawing as much federal funding as possible from these pestholes.